Stay Out of the Pit

When grieving, it is easy to fall into a pit. The whole thing is a big, huge process. But, here are some ways to try to stay out. First, look at your views.

When grieving, we may have a tainted view of God.

“I could have come up with a better plan than this.”

“It does not seem fair.”

“God is not helping me.”

As a result, we experience unsteadiness, anxiety, and anger at God.

However, we can choose to believe the truth about God:

  1. He is growing His children (James 1:2-4).
  2. God will be a strength and refuge (Psalm 46:1).
  3. He is still faithful and good (Psalm 119:75).
  4. His ways are right and just, though I may not understand or see (2 Cor. 4:8/Heb. 11:1).

The more we choose to believe the truth about God, the results are:

  1. Hope (Romans 5:3-4).
  2. Willingness to wait on God (Psalm 130: 5-6).
  3. Strength in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9).

We can also bring wrong thinking about ourselves into grief:

I deserve better than this. I should not have to suffer. It is not fair.

It is more important for me to be happy than holy (Jer. 2:11-13).

I thought I would have an easy life and I look to those circumstances as my source of peace, hope, joy.

Hardship in life equals bad for me.

I will never get out of this pain. This will last forever.

It doesn’t seem like I am growing. I am getting worse.

Since this is so painful and hard, I can’t do anything.

Something is wrong with me. I am embarrassed.

I am afraid of rejection. 

I am unlikeable.

I feel abandoned. I feel alone/lonely and like no one else is dealing with this.

I am not sure if I can ever be happy again.

We can also choose right thoughts about ourselves:

  1. I am one with Christ (John 17:21).
  2. Christ died to save me and to give me a purpose to display Him in the midst of the hardest times (Rom. 8:28-30/Is. 43:7).
  3. I am willing to suffer for His name to be made known (Phil. 3:8-10).
  4. Christ was made perfect through suffering (Heb. 2:10). I will grow through suffering.
  5. There are things I will never understand (Deut. 29:29).
  6. I am the created, He is the Creator. I will humble under God and believe His ways and thoughts are higher than mine (Is. 55:8-9).
  7. Even if the hard things last my whole life, it is a small time compared to eternity (2 Cor. 4:16-18).
  8. I can keep following Jesus in His strength for His glory today (John 14:15).

In grief, wrong thinking about others crops up:

  1. People do not understand me.
  2. How dare such and such treat me that way.
  3. That person is damaging my self-esteem.

We can choose right thinking about others:

  1. What truth do others need to hear or see from me today? How will I accomplish that? (2 Cor. 1:4). TobyMac says he is on the edge of his seat expectant for what God will do each day.
  2. Others are better than myself (Phil. 2:3-4).
  3. How can I love others? (Matt. 22:37-39).
  4. How can I display Christ to someone who has wronged me today? (1 Pet. 2:21-23).

Lastly, we can choose right actions:

  1. Trust God (1 Thess. 5:16-18).
  2. Ask others to pray for you.
  3. Seek fellowship with believers, sing praises, hear messages (Heb. 10:25).
  4. Reach out to others in service (Matt. 20:28).
  5. Ask God what you are responsible for in a given situation (communicate, deal with anger or anxiety).
  6. Get out of bed with an alarm.
  7. Make a list of duties and carry them out. Ask a friend to hold you accountable (Gal. 6:5).

David echoes this: “He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure” (Psalm 40:2). This is a battle and a daily fight and is not easy. It may be two steps forward, one step back. But, it is worth seeking this freedom with the Lord’s help.

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Not Abandoned

Today is Good Friday. Today, we remember Jesus, beaten and broken on a cross, in extreme pain, crying out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He felt alone and abandoned for a moment. 

This fulfilled and hearkened to the same cry that David had in Psalm 22.  

And that Job had. 

At one point, Job felt that God had torn, gnashed, broke, dashed, slashed, and hated him (17:4-14)-his words, not mine! 

In pain and grief, there are moments when you wonder if God has abandoned you.

Job felt totally abandoned and alone and in the middle of his battle, cried out for mercy two times! (19:21) It was at this climax, that he proclaimed that HE KNEW THAT HIS REDEEMER LIVES!!! At the point of his greatest despair, his faith was at the highest level.

Astoundingly, he knew that he was in need of a Redeemer (19:25). Job likely lived after the time of the Tower of Babel but before or during the time of Abraham. When ALL was taken and friends did not understand and even accused him, he knew he needed REDEMPTION and God would vindicate him. 

He knew that there would be a day of justice (“at the last He will stand upon the earth”) when he would SEE GOD with his own eyes. This is where he goes for COMFORT. 

For Jesus, He was experiencing the outpouring of divine wrath as He bore our sin. All three: Jesus, David, Job experienced reproach and ridicule. All three kept relying on God through it and experienced his rescue and mercy.

The truth is: God was always watching over Jesus, David, and Job. God never ditches His people. Hear this: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will not leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6). And this: “For he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’ (Hebrews 13:5b-6). And it goes on and on: “But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’ And God said, ‘I will be with you’ (Exodus 3:11-12). 

God does not leave us while we suffer. He has compassion for us and stays with us. He is the Father who stays!! He does not desert us and this is the greatest promise ever. He never dumps us but is right next to us as we cry and hurt. He never mocks our suffering or our faith. He wants us to reach out to Him and let Him comfort us. He wants us to talk honestly and openly. Jesus, because he felt forsaken, understands us completely. God does not hide His face from us, but rather is listening and hears every cry.

Psalm 22 ends with these words: he has done it. Jesus said, “It is finished.” We have a Redeemer who gets every ounce of our agony, affliction, and aching. Today we remember the darkness He went through to save us. He died for the broken. He was broken for the broken. He is with the broken. This is my body broken for ____. Pray: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have MERCY on me, a sinner.